One of the easiest things to put into a jar and preserve for later is fruit in a simple syrup.
In later months (or years) when the harvest is done or for some reason the fruit does not produce for that year, what a beautiful thing to be able to grab a jar off the shelf and serve your family fresh fruit!
We started canning fruit in a simple syrup years ago with our foray into putting strawberries, blueberries and peaches into jars. We go through a lot of fruit at the table during the colder months here in MN, and knowing exactly what was in the jars was a blessing to a mom who had children dealing with food sensitivities. Once I realized how easy it was, I told everyone. Ha. Because I tend to do that! This time visiting some dear friends in Missouri we were given some gorgeously delicious wild blackberries to take home…and I had to share with you how to put them up to enjoy them all year long!
Most blackberries (and all berries really) need a couple things to fill the jar and stay whole without disintegrating, or floating.
First, put the sugar over them and gently fold it in. Letting them steep in the sugar for anywhere from an hour to overnight will help them from floating when they are finally processed.
Second, when you are heating them all up before placement in the jars, make sure the berries are fully heated through. That also helps with eliminating floating berries in a syrup.
Third, If they are frozen first, it helps a lot with the floating in a jar thing. Somehow this breaks them down just enough that they respond better to canning. We clean ours, then throw them on a cookie sheet and stick in the freezer overnight, but sometimes we dont have time for that. If your berries are not frozen, then know you will have to take the low and slow method of heating up to preserve the berries better and not have floating berries in your jars.
Finally…let your jars rest in the hot water bath if you got busy with something else and got distracted…and they were really in a roiling boil. Siphoning is one of those things that happens when jars get too hot, and then cool down quickly from any canning situation. You don’t want to lose a precious ounce of that delicious juice or have half-filled jars!
I love cracking berry jars open in the winter and making pie fillings or baking with them. My kids’ favorite way to use them is to grab a jar and add it to the family oatmeal pot and stir it in—I mean, who wouldn’t love Blackberry oatmeal with sugar and cream in the middle of January?
So have fun, and just be warned…once you realize how easy it is you are going to find yourself canning every berry in sight when they go on sale!
Blessings to you and yours,